SLAUGHTERHOUSE SLUMBER PARTY ** USA 2019 Dir: Dustin Mills. 85 mins
There are some likeable performances in this self-conscious, mostly unfunny mash-up of 80’s horror hits (THE EVIL DEAD, SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE) for the smarmy 21st century genre crowd. Depending on your goodwill levels, however, it’s hard to warm to the kind of cheerfully silly horror comedy where an onscreen character laments low budget horror movies aimed at “12 year old boys and idiots”. After an annoying fake trailer for SKELOPALYPSE (CGI skeletons and bush) and a long animated sequence, this settles into the naked pillow fights promised by the title. The female ensemble include a bare-boobed feminist, a “one-titty drunk”, a psychic who can read auras, a comedy foreigner and a dour, blood-drinking new girl named Gretchen who is dismissed as having a “skeleton in her snatch”. For no good reason, the characters talk to the camera in the mockumentary style that felt fresh and fun in 1999, and there’s an indie horror reviewer character who talks of objectively bad movies that mean a lot to her. One naked Necronomicon-enhanced ritual later and all hell breaks loose. Writer-director Dustin Mills takes swift refuge in fart jokes, though there are sporadic laughs, notably some semantics over the Latin translations you always find in movies like this: “You’re basically saying Book of the Dead of the Dead”. The cast show enough promise to make you wonder what they might have done with a fun script, but the movie itself has no real charm of its own. Most damagingly, instead of the crowd-pleasing practical gore of the older movies to which it pays token homage, this drowns in a barrage of appalling, anonymous CGI bloodshed.
Review by Steven West